Still time to reduce risks associated with potential swine flu pandemic


10 July 2009

Organizations still have time to put in place a Business Continuity Management (BCM) system ahead of a possible winter flu pandemic, according to BSI, global providers of BCM products and assessment services.

BCM standards and certification can help organizations mitigate the risks associated with the H1 N1 virus, or ‘swine flu’, which has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization and which many doctors believe may strike hardest this winter. A flu pandemic is one of a wide range of potential disruptions to business which the British Standard BS 25999-2 helps organizations prepare for.

BS 25999-2 sets out the requirements for establishing and maintaining an effective BCM system, effectively enabling an organization to anticipate and prepare for the worst. This might mean being able to rapidly recruit temporary staff or moving premises at very short notice: risks are different for every organization but BS 25999-2 helps determine what they are and make the necessary arrangements. BSI’s independent certification to this standard enables an organization to demonstrate to customers and stakeholders its proactive approach to achieving best practice in the area of BCM.

Mike Low, Director, Standards, BSI, said: “It is clearly important that organizations don’t over-react to the occurrence of a pandemic. At the same time, putting a robust BCM plan in place will assist with the continuation of normal business operations. I urge organizations to heed the warnings that the pandemic is likely to peak during the coming winter months and review their BCM systems now, taking action where necessary. A key aspect of effective business continuity management is not only to have a system for managing a disruption to an organization in place but to periodically exercise it as well.”  

BS 25999-2 was developed by BSI in the UK in response to a business and government demand for a standard which could meet their business continuity needs. Published in 2007, the British Standard has been taken up enthusiastically in the UK. Vodaphone, Linklaters, Scottish Borders Council and Sussex County Council are among those to have achieved independent certification to BS 25999-2 through BSI. BSI is also working closely with the Department of Health to tailor the BCM framework to the healthcare sector.

The standard is just as applicable in other countries as it is in the UK: several global organizations, including Samsung Life Insurance, Fujitsu, IBM, NTT Communications and Accenture are now certified to the standard and BSI is currently using BS 25999-2 as the starting point for work with ASIS International on the development of an American Business Continuity Management standard.

See all business continuity standards at the BSI Shop